In My Mug

Episode 475 on Monday the 18th of December, 2017. El Salvador Finca La Lagunita Washed Bourbon

December 16, 2017
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On top of the Nymph Lagoon (a volcanic crater nested in Apaneca) Finca La Lagunita is located at an altitude of 1,650 metres above sea level. Within its 4.9 hectares, 3.5 ha. are dedicated to coffee and it's mainly Bourbon and Typica that mainly grow, there's a bit of Elephante too. The top of the hill has been kept as a native forest, a sanctuary of trees that are hundreds of years old, and as I'm sure you can imagine an area like that also attracts loads of birds and animals so it serves as a wonderful nature reserve too.

Who grew this coffee? Gloria Mercedes Rodríguez Fontan. She's a fourth generation coffee grower and owns + personally supervises six small farms located in the Apaneca-Ilamatepec mountain range: San José, Mamatita, El Porvenir, Nejapa, Nueva Granada and La Lagunita.

This piece of land was Gloria's first farm, and she holds it very close to her heart. When her father, José María Rodríguez died in 1975 it was time for her to learn all the responsibilities of coffee farming, he symbolically presented her with his higher altitude farm: La Lagunita. Gloria's father’s plan was to have his only daughter earn her own money to pay for her university and expenses.

I was lucky enough to get to visit the farm on my trip to El Salvador 2 years ago, you can read a little about it if you like...

The secret diary of a green coffee buyer aged 40 and 1/4
A trip around Central America Day 7 Apaneca San Jose

Gloria works under strict specialty coffee standards such as only harvesting fully ripe cherries, careful milling, appreciative pruning, etc., while she is blessed by amazing coffee terroir conditions such as altitude, sandy loam soils and rich in organic matter, among others. Coffee pickers are selected from her staff based on their experience and passion, and their understanding on the requirements to obtain high-quality coffee.

Each year Gloria employs around 35 people during the harvesting season, and all year round she manages a permanent "winter works" team of 15 people. The idea is to have a solid trained and skilled working group that receive better wages and working conditions. Gloria pays during harvest around 90% above legal minimum wage to give workers incentive and assure the best coffee cherries possible. After every production cycle, she gives a proportional bonus according to every week of labour of her “winter workers” that normally derives into a 1.2 months extra of income for them.

La Lagunita had four foliar ​fertilizations and two soil fertilizations, its soil type is predominantly sandy loam, and rainfall is between 2,000 to 2,700mm annually. With the additional income from auctioned coffee, Gloria plans to improve husbandry practices at her farm and keep focus on improving quality at both the farm and mill level.

This coffee is a washed coffee and I get quite a few emails asking me what on earth that means, well my friends...I made a video!

In the cup this is a classic El Salvador with milk chocolate loveliness and a walnut edge to it. However, it gets a little more complex than that, with hints of pear and an icing sugar sweetness that carries on in the aftertaste.

  • Country: El Salvador
  • Department: Ahuachapán
  • Municipality: Apaneca
  • Farm: La Lagunita
  • Farmer: Gloria Mercedes Rodríguez Fontan
  • Farm Size: 7 hectares
  • Coffee growing area: 5 hectares
  • Altitude: 1,650 m.a.s.l.
  • Varietal: Bourbon
  • Processing System: Washed